Frustrations are rising for Leesville Road High School (LRHS) students as drivers education programs continue to close registration for behind-the-wheel and classroom courses. These registration closures hinder students’ ability to receive their license and other driving privileges as waitlists continue to grow larger throughout the school year.
An update posted by the LRHS drivers education program states registration for in-class driving courses are now temporarily closed for the months of November and December. The registration closures are primarily due to the lack of DMV instructors and administrators available.
Due to the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the DMV has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of employees and driving administrators throughout North Carolina. The economic collapse that followed the pandemic forced many DMV employees to either quit their job or be laid off from their former positions.
“We have also been hit hard by loss of employees for whom driver education was a part-time position, whether a school teacher or a retiree,” reads the update.
Searching for new DMV instructors and administrators is a difficult task because of how long the training process is. “The training and licensing also takes time for any new instructors and we continue to seek and train qualified instructors,” reads the update.
As fewer DMV instructors are available, the waitlist of students continues to grow larger. Leesville students are becoming more frustrated as they are forced to wait longer to get their learner’s permit or license.
Carson Thorne, LRHS freshman student, has been waitlisted for several months leading into the 2021-2022 school year, and is aggravated with the registration closures that delay his ability to receive his learner’s permit.
Heading into his freshman year of highschool, Thorne longed to receive his learner’s permit and to begin the driver’s education courses as soon as possible.
“I’ve always wanted to get my learner’s permit since I graduated eighth grade,” said Thorne. “I figured it would be a lot easier to try and get it through Leesville’s drivers ed programs since it’s so close to where I live and I go here as a student.”
LRHS offers its students driver education programs through its partnership with Wake County contractor, Jordan Driving School (JDS). Drivers education classrooms, road courses, and road tests are all offered through the JDS program at Leesville. By registration, Leesville students can participate in each of the driving phases.
Despite registering for the Leesville classroom course back in May, the backlog of waitlisted students and lack of DMV administrators restricted Thorne from attending the course throughout the whole summer.
“It was really annoying that I couldn’t get called in once for the classroom course for drivers ed throughout the entire summer. I got really impatient and ticked off because it was taking so long,” said Thorne.
As stated from the JDS program, the average time to complete the driver education class, from registration through the classroom and driving phases, is a total of four months. Thorne recently completed the classroom phase after registering five months ago. The absence of DMV administrators and driving instructors at Leesville caused Thorne to wait an extra month to complete only a single portion of his drivers education courses.
“It’s just kind of ridiculous to be honest — I was really hoping to have completed the classroom course and start the road tests before school started,” said Thorne.
The backlog of waitlisted students and recent registration closures caused many students to consider other drivers education options. Thorne withdrew from the JDS program at Leesville and instead enrolled in private drivers education lessons. Despite the higher expenses, private driving lessons allow students to skip the waitlist and speed up the process in order to get their learner’s permit or license quicker.
With registration now closed for November and December driving classrooms, wait-listed students either begin to find new options for driver education, or are forced to once again wait until their name is called. The insufficient shortage of DMV administrators, along with the new registration closures, further hinder LRHS student’s ability to complete their driver education courses, causing the waitlist of students to grow larger and larger each day.
Hi! My name is Chase and I am a staff writer for The Mycenaean. Two fun facts about me are that I enjoy playing guitar with my dad and friends, and I also am a two-time spikeball tournament champion.